Raising a puppy, like raising kids, has changed considerably over the years. As new puppy parents, we're having to learn a lot right alongside our new little charge. "Puppy socialization" is the new-to-us term that describes the critical need to introduce a puppy to new experiences and teach him that they are okay! The key window of opportunity in the little guy's development is round about the 8 - 14 week period and as Barley is at the end of that optimal period, we've been working on adding to his repertoire of happy encounters as quickly as possible!

This included attending a winter Farmer's Market where it took 5 times as long as normal to get from one end to the other as we had to stop to greet  numerous new friends (on two legs and four) along the way (crowds of people; check!) .  Then we went on a 9 km hike through a popular park. Kids and adults; check and check! Dogs of all sizes, ages and temperaments; check! Horses; check!  He also discovered that fresh horse shit is a tasty treat. So no, not all the new experiences were helpful ones. I gave the offer of puppy kisses a pass for awhile that day.

With a 9-k distance under our belt, this past week we ventured to explore some of old Katie-dog's favourite past haunts -- which was a very different experience with puppy...  "CAN WE GO DOWN TO THE WATER?" uh, no. "CAN I EAT THIS DEAD FISH?" no again. "CAN WE MEET THE HERON?" definitely not. "WHY ARE WE CLIMBING THIS TOWER?" because we can. And while I seem to be constantly answering the dog's unspoken questions, I also have to answer the "is he a puppy? how old? what breed? what's his name?" of Every. Single. Person. we meet on the way. Followed by the warning "oh.... he will be very active...." "oh, that's a high energy breed..." "oh, I hope you have a big yard / like running / know what you're in for, etc...." often accompanied by a raised eyebrow. Sigh. No wonder we both need a nap after each of our outings.

We've also been working on a little "home-pre-school" agility training which at this stage just consists of jumping onto things (his idea initially) and walking along logs or walls. Here's a sampling of what that looked like yesterday -- photos are from my phone as I haven't yet mastered the art of photographing this moving target with my camera. The little ham practiced making faces while he posed...


  1. Older Sister of Your Man3 February 2019 at 15:30

    Awesome blog! Sounds like training for the three of you is going great! Jumping up on things is an excellent skill. I zoomed in to the socialization checklist, and see "cats" checked off. Super dee duper. Now the onus is on Tavi to be a good host :)

    1. Note there was only one cat involved in this "socialization check"... we'll just see what happens!

  2. Replies
    1. Yay! Can't wait to see Barley join the family wall!


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